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Shriners Hospitals for Children Feels Like Home to Michael

It was cold and dreary outside, but 8-year-old Michael’s smile lit up the halls at Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington.

Michael was visiting with his mom, Carolyn, for MAGEC rod lengthening, which involves using a magnet to lengthen metal rods in his back used to straighten his spine. 

He’s been a patient at the medical center since he was a baby, his mom said, and has had nearly a dozen surgeries to treat his scoliosis and a congenital condition called arthrogryposis, which involves stiffness of the joints that limits the range of motion.

Michael’s arthrogryposis is severe, his mom said, but not so severe that he can’t walk or communicate. And it certainly doesn’t dull his smile. “He’s had a lot of surgeries,” she said. “No matter what he goes through, he keeps smiling and is happy.”

Michael visits the medical center every three months to see Vishwas Talwalkar, M.D., and Scott Riley, M.D. He also is fond of Kit Montgomery, M.D., the medical center’s anesthesiologist, who Michael refers to as Dr. Gummy Bear.

Michael loves to play Legos and on his gaming computer. He also loves to nap, he said with a laugh.

His biggest dream is to play sports, just like his big brother and the athletes at the University of Kentucky, which is his favorite team. For now, Michael’s mom said she’s thankful he can walk. Sports can come later. “If we hadn’t come to Shriners, I don’t know if he’d be walking yet,” she said. “He didn’t start walking until he was 5.”

Carolyn said the care at the Lexington medical center has been great. “Dr. Talwalkar and Dr. Riley are great doctors,” she said. “The nurses are always phenomenal. Everyone is always spectacular.” In fact, the staff is more like family. “It’s a wonderful place to be. It feels like home.”


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